Board Discusses Community Engagement, Approves Site for New B-CC Middle School

April 18, 2012
The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. Among other items, the Board discussed the strategic priority of community engagement, selected a site for a new Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School, and received an update on state and federal legislation. The agenda, with links to supporting documentation, can be found on the Board of Education website.

Strategic Priority: Community Engagement
The Board had a broad-ranging discussion on community engagement, which Superintendent Joshua Starr has made one of three strategic priorities for the school district in the coming year. The Board heard an overview of current community engagement activities and the focus of the school district moving forward. Noting the work of the Board’s Communications and Public Engagement Committee, Dr. Starr said the district will focus on developing a framework for increased community engagement in the coming year and will continue to share information with the Board and the public. Read the memo to the Board

Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School #2
The Board of Education approved a site for a new middle school in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster, which is expected to open in August 2017. The Board approved the superintendent’s recommendation that the school be built at Rock Creek Hills Local Park. The Rock Creek Hills site was the overwhelming recommendation of the Site Selection Advisory Committee that reviewed 38 possible locations for the new middle school. The Rock Creek Hills property was previously owned by the Board of Education and was the location of Kensington Junior High School, which closed in 1979. The Board transferred the land to the county with the provision that it could be reclaimed if the land was ever needed for a school. The property was subsequently transferred to the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) in 1990 for use as a park. Given the Board’s approval, the project will move into the design phase. Read the memo to the Board and Dr. Starr’s site selection recommendation.

Legislated Education Reform Initiatives
The Board received an update on education reform initiatives that could affect Montgomery County Public Schools. The initiatives include the state of Maryland’s waiver to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind; the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS); Maryland’s Race to the Top plan; and the creation of new assessments by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). The Board received information about how these initiatives would affect MCPS in several areas, including teacher evaluations, how schools will be held accountable, and changes to the testing regimen for elementary and secondary school students. Read the memo to the Board of Education.

Update on Legislative Session
The Board also was updated on the recent legislative session and the status of the state budget. The General Assembly ended its session without coming to an agreement on a budget package, leading to a so-called “doomsday” budget that could lead to a $41 million cut in state funding for Montgomery County Public Schools.  

Other Items
The Board approved several other items, including:
- The appointment of an architect to conduct a feasibility study for an addition to
Kensington-Parkwood Elementary School.
- The awarding of a contract for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning upgrades or replacement at Broad Acres Elementary School, Germantown Elementary School and Poolesville High School.

The Board of Education approved the following resolutions:
- A resolution declaring April 22-28, 2012 as Administrative Professionals Week and April 25, 2012 as Administrative Professionals Day.
A resolution declaring April 15-21, 2012 as National Volunteer Week.
- A resolution declaring April 15-21, 2012 as National Student Leadership Week.

About the Board of Education
The Montgomery County Board of Education is the official educational policymaking body in the county. The Board is responsible for the direction and operation of the public school system. The Board consists of seven county residents elected by voters for a four-year term and a student elected by secondary school students for a one-year term. Board members are elected countywide but run at-large or from the Board district in which they reside.

Montgomery County Board of Education: Ms. Shirley Brandman, president; Mr. Christopher Barclay, vice president. Members: Ms. Laura Berthiaume, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Michael Durso, Mr. Phil Kauffman, Ms. Patricia O’Neill, and Mr. Alan Xie, student member. Dr. Joshua P. Starr, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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